Friday, January 30, 2009

In the News: Jan-30

Wordle: In the News: Jan-30

Gov't launches criminal probe in peanut recall - 30 Jan 2009 at 3:47pm - WASHINGTON -- The government has opened a criminal investigation into the Georgia peanut-processing plant at the center of the national salmonella outbreak, federal officials said Friday. Stephen Sundlof, head of the Food and Drug Administration's food safety center, said the Justice Department will join FDA investigators in looking into possible criminal violations. The Peanut Corp. of America plant shipped allegedly tainted products to dozens of other food companies.

Peanuts tainted with metal fragments - 30 Jan 2009 at 2:51pm - WASHINGTON -- The government acknowledged Friday that a shipment of peanuts from the plant linked to a salmonella outbreak contained a "filthy, putrid or decomposed substance" later identified as metal fragments. The shipment was returned to the U.S. in April, months earlier than reflected in a federal tracking database.

Anthem ban 'political correctness run wild': Conservative MP - 30 Jan 2009 at 1:49pm - A decision to ban elementary school students from singing "O Canada" each morning is "political correctness run wild," according to a federal Conservative cabinet minister.
Well, it's not exactly a ban, is it? And where it says "my home & native land", isn't it automatically excluding a few folks? All in all, though, I don't see what's so offensive about it; it just seems a little excessively nationalistic to require its singing on a daily basis.

GDP sees biggest drop in 27 years - 30 Jan 2009 at 11:28am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The economy shrank at its fastest pace in nearly 27 years in the fourth quarter, government data showed on Friday, sinking deeper into recession as consumers and business cut spending.

Thought for the day:
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In the News: Jan-29

Wordle: In the News: Jan-29

Jobless claims jump to record, durable orders slide - 29 Jan 2009 at 2:03pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans claiming jobless benefits hit a record high in mid-January, while orders for long-lasting factory goods fell for a fifth month in December, according to data on Thursday that showed the economy in steep decline.

Judge Rejects Obama Bid To Stall Gitmo Trial - 29 Jan 2009 at 1:18pm - A military defense attorney says a Guantanamo judge has rejected an Obama administration request to suspend the war-crimes trial of the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing.

U.S. general sees difficulties in closing Guantanamo - 29 Jan 2009 at 1:11pm - A senior U.S. general who once oversaw the Guantanamo Bay prison camp predicted Thursday that the United States will face problems closing it down — something President Obama has ordered be done within a year. U.S. Gen. John Craddock, who headed the U.S. Southern Command from 2004-2006, said while attending a NATO conference that issues over where to send some of the remaining detainees need to be resolved and that doing so will be difficult.
Well,that's the lede, but Craddock's bottom line: "In terms of the closing, I have no concerns. I'm sure the modalities of that will be worked out. I think it will be difficult for some nations to receive detainees in their country of origin. That will have to be worked through."

Officials: Army suicides at three-decade high - 29 Jan 2009 at 8:03am - Defense officials say suicide among U.S. soldiers increased again last year and is at a nearly three-decade high.

Obama pushes for more European troops in Afghanistan - 29 Jan 2009 at 7:57am - President Obama is testing whether Europe will match its enthusiastic words about his administration, and now is pushing for more European troops in Afghanistan. Obama has promised to escalate the fight against the Taliban and bolster U.S. forces. European leaders, who face greater public skepticism about the war, will have a harder time matching Obama even if they should want to.
As NATO has taken the lead in Afghanistan since the U.S. began its follies in Iraq, isn't Obama's request perhaps a bit nervy?

Iraq to deny license to Blackwater guards - 29 Jan 2009 at 7:26am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will not renew the license of Blackwater Worldwide, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians while protecting U.S. diplomats, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.

Thought for the day:
Our an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be. -George Santayana (1863 - 1952)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In the News: Jan-28

Wordle: In the News: Jan-28

Postmaster Gen'l: Mail delivery may need to be cut - 28 Jan 2009 at 2:59pm - WASHINGTON -- Postmaster General John Potter says the massive deficits facing the post office could force the agency to cut out one day of mail delivery per week.
Could't some of the stimulus money be used to maintain or even expand postal services?

Obama trip to Canada set for Feb. 19 - 28 Jan 2009 at 1:54pm - WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama is making his first foreign trip as president to Canada on Feb. 19.

Early Voting in Iraq Is Mostly Smooth - 28 Jan 2009 at 1:16pm - There was at least one violent incident during early voting in Iraq?s provincial elections, when two police officers were killed at a polling center.

GOP fails to revive abortion-group funding ban - 28 Jan 2009 at 1:12pm - WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans have failed to revive a prohibition on using federal funding for international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information.

Judge OKs holding Taliban cook at Guantanamo - 28 Jan 2009 at 1:05pm - WASHINGTON -- A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who says he merely cooked meals for Taliban forces and never fired a shot in battle lost his petition to be released Wednesday after being held for more than seven years.

GOP fails to limit children's health program - 28 Jan 2009 at 1:00pm - Senate Republicans fell short Wednesday in their effort to limit the expansion of a government health insurance program for lower-income children. The Senate rejected the Republican proposal by a resounding 65-32 vote. Democratic lawmakers say the GOP's legislation didn't go far enough, covering only about 2 million uninsured children, or roughly half of the number that the Democrats' bill would cover.

Russia offers Obama olive branch on missiles: report - 28 Jan 2009 at 10:16am - MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has halted plans to deploy missiles near the Polish border, a Russian news agency quoted the military as saying on Wednesday, in what could be a sign Moscow is seeking better ties with the new U.S. president.

Dissidents at F.D.A. Complain of Inquiry - 28 Jan 2009 at 8:57am - Scientists at the F.D.A. who say they were forced to approve medical devices sent a letter to President Obama stating that agency officials may have made them targets of a criminal investigation.

U.S. peanut plant shipped salmonella-tainted products: FDA - 28 Jan 2009 at 8:34am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A peanut plant in Georgia identified as the source of an outbreak of salmonella shipped out products that managers knew might have been tainted, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said on Tuesday.

World economy may lose 51 million jobs: U.N. agency - 28 Jan 2009 at 7:14am - GENEVA (Reuters) - Up to 51 million jobs worldwide could disappear by the end of this year as a result of the economic slowdown that has turned into a global employment crisis, a United Nations agency said on Wednesday.

US officials investigate MP3 security blunder - 28 Jan 2009 at 6:37am - A New Zealand man who discovered US military files on an MP3 player has been visited by US officials about the matter.

Thought for the day:
Irresponsible power is inconsistent with liberty, and must corrupt those who exercise it. -John Calhoun (1782 - 1850)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the News: Jan-27

Wordle: In the News: Jan-27

US-Mexico border fence almost complete - 27 Jan 2009 at 3:10pm - WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department says the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border is mostly finished.

Senators say contractor should be punished - 27 Jan 2009 at 3:05pm - WASHINGTON -- Two senators said Tuesday the Army hasn't acted fast enough to fix electrical problems in Iraq that led to the electrocutions of U.S. troops.

NATO Says 2 Troops Killed in South Afghanistan - 27 Jan 2009 at 2:40pm - NATO said two of its troops were killed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, where an official said five Taliban fighters died in another clash.

Pentagon sees limit on U.S. troops in Afghanistan - 27 Jan 2009 at 2:05pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday he would be very skeptical about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan beyond those already requested by the top commander there.

US official: Intelligence director resigns - 27 Jan 2009 at 1:09pm - WASHINGTON -- National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell resigned his post Tuesday, according to a U.S. official.

Judge: Draft requirement for fed jobs is unconstitutional - 27 Jan 2009 at 10:53am - A judge in Boston has found that a law that bans most federal employment for men who fail to register for the military draft ...

First batch of extra U.S. troops in east Afghanistan - 27 Jan 2009 at 8:30am - KABUL (Reuters) - The first deployment of a planned United States surge of up to 30,000 troops, has moved into bases in two key provinces of east Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.

Obama offers 'hand of friendship' during Arab TV interview - 27 Jan 2009 at 8:32am - U.S. President Barack Obama told an Arabic television audience Tuesday that Americans are "not your enemy" and pledged to improve dialogue with the Muslim world.

Obama Sends Special Envoy to Mideast - 27 Jan 2009 at 8:27am - President Obama sent his special envoy, George J. Mitchell, on an eight-day listening tour that includes Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France and Britain.

Peanut Plant Was Cited for Violations - 26 Jan 2009 at 4:26pm - The processing plant that produced peanut butter tainted by salmonella had a history of health violations, according to state inspection reports.

Thought for the day:
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)

Monday, January 26, 2009

In the News: Jan-26

Wordle: In the News: Jan-26

Clinton names climate change envoy - 26 Jan 2009 at 1:24pm - WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday appointed a special envoy for climate change, vowing that the Obama administration would restore America's credentials and leadership in shaping environmental policy.

Obama begins reversing Bush climate policies - 26 Jan 2009 at 1:12pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama began reversing the climate policies of the Bush administration on Monday, clearing the way for new rules to force auto makers to produce more fuel-efficient and less polluting cars.

US Supreme Court says passenger can be frisked - 26 Jan 2009 at 10:32am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so.

Court rules for worker over retaliation - 26 Jan 2009 at 10:20am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has ruled that workers who cooperate with internal investigations of retaliation by their employers are sheltered by federal laws prohibiting job discrimination.

4 Americans Die When Aircraft Go Down in Iraq - 26 Jan 2009 at 7:20am - Two U.S. helicopters crashed Monday in northern Iraq, killing four American troops, the U.S. military said.

Iraq prime minister expects speedier U.S. pullout - 26 Jan 2009 at 6:59am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will withdraw forces from Iraq sooner than the three-year deadline agreed by ex-president George W. Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Monday.

Thought for the day:
Fight for your opinions, but do not believe that they contain the whole truth, or the only truth. -Charles A. Dana (1819 - 1897)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

U.S Soldiers Kill Iraqi Couple During Raid

Soldiers Kill Iraqi Couple During Raid at a Home - 24 Jan 2009 at 3:47pm - American soldiers fatally shot an Iraqi couple in their home near Kirkuk early Saturday after the wife reached for a pistol hidden under a mattress, officials said.
Why in the hell are U.S. forces still conducting raids in Iraq?

Friday, January 23, 2009

In the News: Jan-23

Wordle: In the News: Jan-23

New rules set for Navy sonar training - 23 Jan 2009 at 1:48pm - Federal fisheries regulators announced rules Friday to protect marine mammals during U.S. Navy sonar training along the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The rules authorize the Navy to conduct the training, while requiring action to avoid endangering mammals such as whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued similar regulations previously to cover the West Coast and Hawaii.

Judge: Obama gets chance to weigh in on detainees - 23 Jan 2009 at 1:34pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has decided to give the Obama administration time to weigh in on some of the legal cases brought by terror detainees held by the United States, and the Supreme Court has granted a delay in the case of an alleged terrorist sleeper agent.

Suspected US missiles kill 15 in Pakistan - 23 Jan 2009 at 1:17pm - MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) - Missiles fired from suspected US drones on Friday slammed into presumed militant dens in Pakistan killing 15 people, including three children and at least four civilians, officials said.

Obama to lift funding ban for abortion groups abroad - 23 Jan 2009 at 12:01pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday will lift restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, reversing a policy of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush, an administration official said.

Thought for the day:
Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing. -Wernher von Braun (1912 - 1977)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the News: Jan-22

Wordle: In the News: Jan-22

Army: Negligence caused soldier's electrocution - 22 Jan 2009 at 2:14pm - WASHINGTON -- An Army investigation calls the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq "negligent homicide" caused by military contractor KBR Inc. and two of its supervisors.

Obama signs order to close Guantanamo within a year - 22 Jan 2009 at 11:28am - U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Thursday to close the controversial detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.

Blair: Army interrogation manual to apply to CIA - 22 Jan 2009 at 11:23am - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's pick to be the top intelligence officer says the Army Field Manual that outlines legal interrogation techniques will govern CIA questioning.

DOJ seeks to block warrantless wiretap ruling - January 21, 2009 1:16:00 PM - The Bush administration may have passed into history, but its legal briefs linger on. Earlier this month, a federal court held that an Islamic charity could proceed with a lawsuit alleging it was subject to warrantless surveillance by the NSA—and ordered that the government turn over classified documents for review by the judge. On the eve of the presidential inauguration, however, the Justice Department filed a motion urging the court to stay that ruling pending an appeal, citing the risk of irreparable harm to national security.

Obama intel nominee makes anti-torture pledge - 22 Jan 2009 at 10:03am - WASHINGTON -- The man tapped to oversee U.S. intelligence is promising Congress there will be no torture, harsh interrogations and warrantless wiretapping on his watch.

Iraq ready if Obama orders quick exit: minister - 22 Jan 2009 at 9:05am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's military is "prepared for the worst" if President Barack Obama orders a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops, Defence Minister Abdul Qader Jassim said on Thursday.

Thought for the day:
When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist. -Dom Helder Camara

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In the News: Jan-21

Wordle: In the News: Jan-21

Just for fun, Andrew Sloat's "A More Perfect Union":.
Trés cool.

Canada to reassess position on Omar Khadr: MacKay - 21 Jan 2009 at 2:40pm - The Canadian government is reassessing its position on Omar Khadr in the wake of a U.S. military judge granting an adjournment of 120 days in his war-crimes case at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday.

11 Taliban, two soldiers killed in Afghan fighting - 21 Jan 2009 at 2:17pm - Heavy fighting between Taliban and security forces in Afghanistan's remote north-west killed 11 militants as two soldiers died in a Taliban suicide attack on Wednesday, local authorities said.

Obama draft order calls for closing Guantanamo Bay - 21 Jan 2009 at 12:45pm - WASHINGTON -- The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime.

Israel completes Gaza troop withdrawal - 21 Jan 2009 at 12:36pm - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel completed a troop pullout from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, starting its relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama by leaving Palestinian land devastated by its 22-day offensive.

Guantanamo trial halted for 9-11 accused - 21 Jan 2009 at 11:50am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - A U.S. military judge on Wednesday halted the trial of five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks, giving President Barack Obama the time he sought to decide whether to scrap the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals.

Switzerland to consider hosting Guantanamo inmates - 21 Jan 2009 at 11:09am - ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland is ready to consider taking in detainees from the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba if that helps to shut it down, the Swiss government said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge halts proceedings against Omar Khadr - 21 Jan 2009 at 9:47am - The U.S. military judge presiding over Canadian Omar Khadr's war-crimes case at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, granted an adjournment on Wednesday of 120 days at the request of the new administration of President Barack Obama.

Obama seeks halt to Guantanamo trials - 21 Jan 2009 at 7:37am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Hours after taking office on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.

U.S. investigates Afghan civilian deaths claim - 21 Jan 2009 at 7:07am - The U.S. military said Wednesday that it was investigating an Afghan news report that a coalition operation may have left more than two dozen civilians dead. Two Afghan officials said a government investigation found only militants were killed. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has long urged U.S. and NATO troops to avoid civilian casualties. The deaths could undermine his re-election bid this year, and also erode support that the foreign forces need to help Karzai's government extend its reach across the country.

Thought for the day:
You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light. -Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768 - 1848)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In the News: Jan-20

Wordle: In the News: Jan-20

Obama vows responsible end to Iraq war - 20 Jan 2009 at 12:08pm - WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama is vowing to "responsibly leave Iraq to its people" and also to build what he calls a "hard-earned peace in Afghanistan."

Thought for the day:
The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others. -Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919), Labor Day speech at Syracuse, NY, Sept 7, 1903 ("Theodore Rex" - Edmund Morris)

Monday, January 19, 2009

In the News: Jan-19

Wordle: In the News: Jan-19

Bush commutes sentences of former US border agents - 19 Jan 2009 at 1:09pm - WASHINGTON -- In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration.

Guantanamo court convenes amid chaos - 19 Jan 2009 at 11:57am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - The Guantanamo war crimes court convened in a chaotic session on Monday with accused September 11 plotters disrupting the proceedings while U.S. government lawyers debated whether an administrative hiccup had left them facing any charges at all.

U.S. military judge denies Khadr lawyer's request to call off hearings - 19 Jan 2009 at 2:19pm - A U.S. military judge denied a request by Canadian Omar Khadr's defence lawyer on Monday to call off proceedings in his case over a procedural dispute between defence and prosecution lawyers at the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Iran names two brothers in U.S.-backed plot: report - 19 Jan 2009 at 8:11am - TEHRAN (Reuters) - Two Iranian brothers, whose arrests last year sparked concern in the West, are among people accused of involvement in a U.S.-funded plot to overthrow the Islamic system of government, Iranian media said on Monday.

Editorials worldwide pillory Bush one final time - 19 Jan 2009 at 8:07am - BERLIN (Reuters) - Editorial writers around the world have been taking their final printed whacks at George W. Bush, accusing the president of tarnishing America's standing with what many saw as arrogant and incompetent leadership.

Rulings of Improper Detentions as the Bush Era Closes - 19 Jan 2009 at 7:11am - In the last three months, courts or a tribunal have declared at least 24 detainees at Guantánamo Bay improperly held.

Pentagon exonerates itself in Iraq war TV spin investigation - January 18, 2009 9:15:00 PM - The Pentagon says that it finds "insufficient evidence" to confirm allegations that it recruited retired military officers to cheerlead the Iraq war on TV.

Thought for the day:
You have not converted a man because you have silenced him. -John Viscount Morley

Friday, January 16, 2009

In the News: Jan-16

Wordle: In the News: Jan-16

EPA to regulate mercury from cement plants - 16 Jan 2009 at 2:57pm - TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Activists have settled a lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency over regulation of mercury emissions from cement plants.

Investigation begins in plane's NYC splash landing - 16 Jan 2009 at 2:50pm - NEW YORK -- Federal investigators said the left engine of the US Airways jetliner that ditched into the Hudson River was missing Friday as reports emerged that the pilot who safely landed the aircraft had considered an emergency landing at two airports.

Interior issues offshore drilling plan - 16 Jan 2009 at 1:47pm - The Interior Department on Friday issued a detailed proposal for widespread oil and gas drilling off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in areas that have not had energy exploration for decades. The proposal, issued in the Bush administration's final days, calls for oil and gas leases to be made available within two to six years "in areas of hydrocarbon potential" from New England to Florida and off the length of California.

U.S.-Israel agreement may set stage for ceasefire - 16 Jan 2009 at 11:31am - An agreement to be signed on Friday between Israel and the United States will aim to keep Hamas from rearming after a ceasefire brings an end to fighting in the Gaza Strip, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

Thought for the day:
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. -Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act I

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the News: Jan-15

Wordle: In the News: Jan-15

Intelligence court rules wiretapping program legal - 15 Jan 2009 at 12:44pm - The ruling is expected to validate the president's power to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail without a court order.

Pentagon Iraq withdrawal has 16-month time frame - 15 Jan 2009 at 1:55pm - WASHINGTON -- Pentagon officials said Thursday they are readying a range of plans for a pullout of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, including a possible drawdown within the 16-month time frame promised by President-elect Obama.

Holder tells senators waterboarding is torture - 15 Jan 2009 at 11:45am - WASHINGTON -- Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Jr. forcefully broke from the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies Thursday, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantanamo Bay detainees in U.S. courts.

Cheney: Obama should adopt Bush terrorism policies - 14 Jan 2009 at 4:43pm - WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that President-elect Barack Obama will jeopardize national security if he does not embrace the terror-fighting policies implemented by President George W. Bush.

Suicide spotlights troops' mental care - 14 Jan 2009 at 5:04pm - WASHINGTON -- In 2005, an Army captain in Iraq asked for a mental health evaluation for one of his soldiers, a private first class from North Carolina who was known to put the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth. The case was assigned to a psychologist who was unlicensed - a common practice in the early years of the war, when the Army rushed mental health counselors to the combat zone even if some weren't certified or fully qualified.

Thought for the day:
Courage without conscience is a wild beast. -Robert Ingersoll (1833 - 1899)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the News: Jan-14

Wordle: In the News: Jan-14

U.S. Army chief expects rise in deployed troops - 14 Jan 2009 at 2:35pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army, already strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will likely deploy more soldiers in the next 18 months, the service's top general said on Wednesday.

Israeli Rights Groups Call for War Crimes Inquiry - 14 Jan 2009 at 2:34pm - Nine human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza.

Judge hits White House with preservation order - 14 Jan 2009 at 2:24pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has been hit with a last-minute court order to preserve electronic messages, the result of long problems with the White House's e-mail system.

EPA pick pledges to address toxic hot spots near schools - 14 Jan 2009 at 2:13pm - President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promised Wednesday that she would deploy federal regulators to check air quality around schools in response to a USA TODAY investigation that identified hundreds of schools that appeared in toxic hot spots. The nominee, Lisa Jackson, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee that she would "send investigators and samplers out to verify the extent of the problem" and "mobilize" agency efforts within 30 days of her confirmation. Parents, she said, "have a right to know their children are safe in school."

Bill to regulate coal ash ponds introduced - 14 Jan 2009 at 1:21pm - WASHINGTON -- A West Virginia Democrat is introducing legislation that would set the first federal standards for coal ash ponds at power plants.

Veterans exposed to incorrect drug doses - 14 Jan 2009 at 11:07am - WASHINGTON -- Patients at Veterans Affairs health centers around the country were given incorrect doses of drugs, had needed treatments delayed and may have been exposed to other medical errors due to software glitches that showed faulty displays of their electronic health records.

House votes to expand health care for children - 14 Jan 2009 at 2:51pm - The House voted Wednesday to expand government-sponsored health care to 4 million more children of working families, making a down payment on President-elect Obama's promise to provide universal health care to all Americans who want it.

White House: Audiotape shows bin Laden is isolated - 14 Jan 2009 at 9:40am - WASHINGTON -- The White House said Wednesday that the recent audiotape believed to carry a message from Osama bin Laden reflects the "isolation" of the al-Qaida leader.
Isolated, perhaps, but still, as Bush says, "on the run". Remember when capturing bin Laden was "job #1"?

US official highlights Guantanamo torture - 14 Jan 2009 at 4:13am - A Saudi suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks was tortured at the US detention site in Guantanamo Bay, the Washington Post has reported, citing a US official.

Thought for the day:
All ambitions are lawful except those that climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. -Joseph Conrad (1857 - 1924)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In the News: Jan-13

Wordle: In the News: Jan-13

Pace offers regret for Iraq War mistakes - 13 Jan 2009 at 3:04pm - WASHINGTON -- As the Bush administration works in its final days to cement its legacy, one of the leading architects of the Iraq war acknowledged Tuesday that he'd change some of the military advice he gave at the time, if he could.

Bush gives longtime allies US's top civilian honor - 13 Jan 2009 at 1:30pm - WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush has given the United States' highest civilian award to three foreign leaders who have been among his most loyal partners on the world stage.

Pentagon: Gitmo detainees returning to battlefield - 13 Jan 2009 at 1:23pm - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon says the number of Guantanamo Bay detainees who rejoined terrorist missions after being released is on the rise.

Report critical of former Justice Dept. official - 13 Jan 2009 at 1:16pm - WASHINGTON -- Investigators say a former top Justice Department official made false statements to Congress and violated federal law in overseeing the agency's civil rights division.

Court hears arguments over detainee's confession - 13 Jan 2009 at 1:16pm - WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for a young Guantanamo detainee called Tuesday for a military appeals court to uphold the dismissal of his confession to attacking U.S. forces. The lawyers argue that the confession was obtained by American interrogators soon after he was tortured by Afghan authorities.

Judge: Copy of disputed documents goes to Obama - 13 Jan 2009 at 12:57pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge says the incoming administration of Barack Obama must be given copies of documents the Bush White House has been withholding from Congress on the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.

Thought for the day:
Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles. -George Jean Nathan (1882 - 1958)

Monday, January 12, 2009

In the News: Jan-12

Wordle: In the News: Jan-12

Bush defends presidency in final news conference - 12 Jan 2009 at 11:47am - WASHINGTON -- By turns wistful, aggressive and joking in the final news conference of his presidency, President George W. Bush vigorously defended his record Monday but also offered an extraordinary listing of his mistakes - including his optimistic Iraq speech before a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003.
He particularly became indignant when asked about America's bruised image overseas. "I disagree with this assessment that, you know, that people view America in a dim light," he said. "It may be damaged amongst some of the elite. But people still understand America stands for freedom."
Still the quintessential bubble-boy.

Joe the Plumber calls on Obama to help Israel - 12 Jan 2009 at 11:24am - Joe the Plumber called on President-elect Barack Obama on Monday to help Israel in its campaign against Hamas.
Joe the activist plumber-reporter. How much help does he think Israel needs?

Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo - 12 Jan 2009 at 2:59pm - WASHINGTON -- Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama say one of his first duties in office will be to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. That executive order is expected during Obama's first week on the job - and possibly on his first day, according to two transition team advisers. Both spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

State Dept: US to evacuate 150 from Gaza - 12 Jan 2009 at 12:16pm - WASHINGTON -- The State Department says it is planning to evacuate about 150 Americans and non-American family members from Gaza, where Israel is continuing major military operations against Hamas militants.

Bush says U.S. moral standing not diminished under his watch - 12 Jan 2009 at 12:15pm - In the final news conference of his presidency, U.S. President George W. Bush strongly dismissed suggestions that the United States lost its moral standing during his administration, insisting his most vociferous critics are few.

Bush Calls on Republican Party to Be Inclusive - 12 Jan 2009 at 8:42am - President Bush warned his fellow Republicans against appearing ?anti-immigrant? while offering kind words for his successor in one of his last major interviews.

Thought for the day:
There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. -Marshall McLuhan (1911 - 1980)

Friday, January 09, 2009

In the News: Jan-09

Wordle: In the News: Jan-09

Palin: Is Kennedy getting 'kid glove' treatment? - 9 Jan 2009 at 9:38am - WASHINGTON -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is questioning whether Caroline Kennedy is getting better treatment from the press in her bid for a Senate seat from New York than the battering she says she received as John McCain's running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.
If Kennedy starts listing "lipstick", "hockey", or "pitbull" among her qualifications, we'll talk about it.

TVA: Coal waste pond in Alabama ruptures - 9 Jan 2009 at 3:14pm - A waste pond at a coal-burning power plant in northeast Alabama ruptured early Friday, but the spill was quickly contained, utility officials said. TVA official Gil Francis said the leak at its Widows Creek coal-burning power plant in northeastern Alabama was caused by a break in a pipe that removes water from the 147-acre gypsum pond.

Toxic coal ash piling up in ponds in 32 states - 9 Jan 2009 at 3:11pm - WASHINGTON -- Millions of tons of toxic coal ash are piling up in power plant ponds in 32 states, a practice the government has long recognized as a risk to human health and the environment but has left unregulated.

Court steps into case involving Iraq - 9 Jan 2009 at 1:59pm - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide whether the Iraqi government has immunity in American courts for the acts of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Obama's new spy chiefs to break with Bush years - 9 Jan 2009 at 1:14pm - WASHINGTON (AFP) - Barack Obama Friday vowed to observe Geneva Conventions bans on torture and outlawed the tweaking of intelligence data for political gain, naming new US spy chiefs in a clean break from the Bush years.

Judge hands loss to White House on visitors logs - 9 Jan 2009 at 12:54pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has turned down the Bush administration's latest attempt to keep secret the identities of White House visitors.

U.S. economy loses 524,000 jobs in December - 9 Jan 2009 at 9:23am - Mired in recession, the United States economy shed 524,000 jobs in December, pushing overall job losses for 2008 to 2.6 million - the largest annual drop since 1945.

Panel criticizes Treasury use of TARP funds - 9 Jan 2009 at 9:15am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury has done nothing to ensure a $700 billion financial bailout fund is used to stabilize the weak mortgage market, which caused the U.S. economic crisis, a congressional watchdog said on Friday.

Thought for the day:
She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon. -Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

In the News: Jan-08

Wordle: In the News: Jan-08

Rising temperatures could create global food crisis by end of century: scient... - 8 Jan 2009 at 2:26pm - Higher global temperatures forecast for the rest of this century will lead to major disruptions in the world food supply unless farmers can adapt to the changing climate, U.S. researchers say.

Panel Urges Easing of Rules on High-Tech Exports - 8 Jan 2009 at 2:43pm - An expert panel said on Thursday that as president Barack Obama should change regulations on high-tech exports and on immigration by scientists and engineers.

UN halts aid to Gaza, citing Israeli attacks on staff - 8 Jan 2009 at 1:49pm - A United Nations aid agency is halting all deliveries to the besieged Gaza Strip because of Israeli attacks on UN staff and installations, its director said Thursday.

Congress asks judge to keep Bush records at WH - 8 Jan 2009 at 10:26am - WASHINGTON -- The new Congress has asked a federal judge to force the Bush administration to keep some of its disputed records at the White House instead of turning them over immediately to the National Archives.

Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel amid Gaza offensive - 8 Jan 2009 at 8:24am - NAHARIYA, Israel (Reuters) - Several rockets fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Thursday, slightly wounding two people, police and medics said, in an attack seen as linked to Israel's war on Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip.

Report: US had unrealistic goals in Afghanistan - 8 Jan 2009 at 7:25am - WASHINGTON -- The United States and its partners have shortchanged Afghanistan by focusing on short-term goals pursued without a cohesive strategy or a clear understanding of the way the poor, decentralized country works, an independent study concludes.

Thought for the day:
Either war is obsolete or men are. -R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In the News: Jan-07

Wordle: In the News: Jan-07

Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation - 7 Jan 2009 at 2:34pm - Most coal byproduct dumps in the U.S. are unregulated, but they contain chemicals that threaten health.

Israel urged to accept truce as Gaza fighting resumes - 7 Jan 2009 at 2:51pm - GAZA (Reuters) - Hundreds of embattled Palestinians ventured outside to shop for food on Wednesday during a three-hour Gaza truce, a first step toward an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire under discussion by Israel and Hamas.

Canadian soldier killed in southern Afghanistan - 7 Jan 2009 at 2:25pm - A Canadian soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the northern part of Afghanistan's Kandahar province early Wednesday, say military officials.

Private job losses mount, ominous for payrolls - 7 Jan 2009 at 12:55pm - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Job losses and plans to lay off workers hammered the struggling U.S. economy in the final month of 2008, according to private reports that could foreshadow surprisingly grim labor market data from the government on Friday.

Gates says Afghan surge may cost $5.5 billion in FY09 - 7 Jan 2009 at 12:34pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told Congress that a planned buildup of U.S. forces in Afghanistan could add $5.5 billion to U.S. war costs in the current federal fiscal year, officials said on Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
The future is uncertain... but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity. -Ilya Prigogine (1917 - )

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

In the News: Jan-06

Wordle: In the News: Jan-06

Blackwater guards plead not guilty to Iraqi deaths - 6 Jan 2009 at 2:57pm - WASHINGTON -- Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in the 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

Judge: Gov't hiding evidence in Gitmo case - 6 Jan 2009 at 2:41pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has accused the Bush administration of hiding evidence in the case of a Yemen man who has been held as a terror suspect at Guantanamo Bay for six years.

Feds plan to charge Seattle man for Iraq death - 6 Jan 2009 at 1:56pm - SEATTLE -- Federal prosecutors intend to charge a former security contractor for Blackwater USA in the killing of an Iraqi guard in 2006, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Israeli tank fire kills 40 at U.N. school: medics - 6 Jan 2009 at 11:54am - GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli tank shells killed at least 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a U.N. school where civilians had taken shelter, medical officials said, in carnage likely to boost international pressure on Israel to halt a Gaza offensive.

Burris denied seat in US Senate to succeed Obama - 6 Jan 2009 at 11:35am - WASHINGTON -- Roland Burris announced Tuesday he was rejected for Barack Obama's Senate seat, in a bizarre rainy-day scene on the Capitol grounds as lawmakers awaited the gaveling of the 111th Congress into session.

An Ex-Detainee of the U.S. Describes a 6-Year Ordeal - 6 Jan 2009 at 10:34am - Though never charged with a crime, Muhammad Saad Iqbal spent six years in American custody, during which he says he was secretly taken to Egypt and tortured.

IRAQ: Budget cuts threaten IDP housing projects - January 06, 2009 8:40:23 AM - BAGHDAD, 6 January 2009 (IRIN) - Lack of government funds could force the Ministry of Displacement and Migration to postpone until 2010 some housing projects designed to ease internal displacement, an official told IRIN on 4 January.

Thought for the day:
The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards. -Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877)

Monday, January 05, 2009

In the News: Jan-05

Wordle: In the News: Jan-05

Obama picks Leon Panetta to head CIA - 5 Jan 2009 at 3:23pm - WASHINGTON -- Two Democratic officials say President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to run the CIA. Panetta was a surprise pick for the post, with no experience in the intelligence world. An Obama transition official and another Democrat disclosed his nomination on a condition of anonymity since it was not yet public.
If the operation of the department under Bush is an indication of the value of "experience in the intelligence world", Panetta's lack of experience shouldn't be a big deal.

Activist Unmasks Himself as Federal Informant in G.O.P. Convention Case - 5 Jan 2009 at 1:14pm - The news that a community organizer in Texas was the F.B.I. informant whose tip led to arrests at the G.O.P. convention has caused shock in the activist community.

Court: IDs of reportedly abused detainees can be secret - 5 Jan 2009 at 11:56am - NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the government can keep secret the identities of detainees allegedly abused at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued the ruling Monday, reversing a lower court judge.

U.N. urges nations to accept Guantanamo detainees - 5 Jan 2009 at 10:19am - VIENNA (Reuters) - More countries should offer to take in Guantanamo prisoners to help U.S. President-elect Barack Obama close the detention camp for terrorism suspects, the U.N.'s torture investigator said on Monday.

News Analysis: Israel Strikes Before an Ally Departs - 5 Jan 2009 at 8:09am - Many Middle East experts believe that Israel timed its move against Hamas with the expectation of receiving backing in Washington.

France tries accused 9/11 plotter in Tunisia blast - 5 Jan 2009 at 7:17am - PARIS (AP) — A man who says he orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States was among three people put on trial Monday in a Paris court for involvement in a deadly synagogue bombing in Tunisia. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was not present for the proceedings, which are expected to highlight the reach and complexity of al-Qaeda-linked networks in North Africa.

U.S. Opens New Embassy in Iraq - 5 Jan 2009 at 7:04am - The United States opened its new embassy building in Baghdad Monday, a step meant to symbolize its transition from occupying power to an ally of a sovereign Iraqi government.

Warning over plight of Iraqi widows - January 05, 2009 8:49:09 AM - BAGHDAD, 1 January 2009 (IRIN) - A women's rights activist and a Baghdad government official agree that the government needs to take action to help the huge number of widows in Iraq - but they disagree on how to proceed.

Thought for the day:
Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war. -Norman Mailer (1923 - 2007), Armies Of The Night